Festivals, Fireworks and Culinary Delights
As the Holiday season approaches, one of the best things about spending time in Malta and its sister island of Gozo is being able to observe and experience some of the excitement of the Maltese national traditions as well as the culinary delights. Malta, the archipelago in the Mediterranean, with its year-round mild weather, offers visitors a perfect place to end the year and ring in a new one.
Maltese Christmas Markets
- Villa Rundle – December 1st – 23rd visitors can explore the beautifully decorated stalls offering seasonal artisan treats.
- Christmas Village at Valletta Waterfront– Dec 1st-27th enjoy Valletta as it turns into a picture-perfect Christmas Village. Visitors can indulge in free activities along the promenade, including; bands, choirs, cribs, food and a myriad of activities for younger Maltese visitors.
- Natalis Notabilis– December 11th- 15th visitors can enjoy Rabat which is transformed into a winter wonderland with over 80 stalls and historic buildings will also be hosting Christmas related activities to enjoy during the 5-day event.
When visiting Malta during the Christmas season visitors will see nativity scenes or cribs on every street corner. Cribs are an important and popular part of the Maltese tradition during Christmas. Presepju or cribs in Malta differ from traditional nativity scenes. Maltese cribs include Mary, Joseph, and Jesus with a landscape that portrays Malta often rocky stones, Maltese flour, windmills, and ancient ruins.
Bethlehem f’Ghajnsielem – December 2nd – Jan 5th visitors can explore the customs and folklore at this Maltese crib.
Visitors of the capital city of Valletta, the 2018 European Capital of Culture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can admire the unique, colorful and spectacular Christmas lights. Republic Street and adjacent side streets are given a festive makeover with colorful light designs. The festive lights are switched on during a ceremony by the Minister of Culture.
The Malta International Christmas Choir Festival
Visitors can hear the angelic sounds of the holiday season at the Malta International Christmas Choir Festival which takes place between December 5th-9th. Guests will enjoy a number of choirs participating in the festival, ranging from male, female, youth, and gospel to folk choirs.
Every year, a spectacular pantomime is staged at the marvelous Manoel Theatre in Valletta. This year, visitors can enjoy The Little Mermaid, from December 22nd to January 5th, a holiday tradition for Maltese adults and children.
The iconic St. John’s C0-Cathedral in Valletta is worth visiting at any time of year. However, during the Christmas season is an especially exciting time to visit. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the church hosts a series of candlelit carol concerts and processions which are guaranteed to get visitors in the festive spirit.
Maltese Traditional Holiday Food
With Malta celebrating 2020 being the year of gastronomy. Food plays a big part in the holiday season in Malta. Today the traditional Maltese Christmas menu includes turkey/pork, potatoes, vegetables, cakes, puddings, and mince pies.
A real specialty is the Maltese Christmas Log, a lovely combination of crushed biscuits, condensed milk and a number of different festive ingredients.
New Year’s Eve Malta Style – Fireworks!
Visitors can end the year in style and welcome in the New Year at the Valletta Waterfront. Valletta itself, Malta’s Capital and the 2018 European Capital of Culture, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Valletta’s romantic waterfront lined by restaurants with exquisite cuisine is the place to welcome the New Year with a glass of champagne in hand. Travelers can ring in 2020 with a myriad of New Year’s Eve festivities featuring live bands, children’s entertainment and fireworks and confetti display at the stroke of midnight. Visitors can experience all of this with the breathtaking view of the Grand Harbour as the backdrop. Once the New Year begins a DJ will lead the festivities with various classics and popular hits.
For further information on the Holiday season and destination Malta, please see visitmalta.com
The sunny islands of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nation-state anywhere. Valletta built by the proud Knights of St. John is one of the UNESCO sites and was the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Malta’s patrimony in stone ranges from the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, to one of the British Empire’s most formidable defensive systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military architecture from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.
Malta Tourism Authority North America
Tel: (212) 213-0944
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MTA US Editorial Contact
The Bradford Group
Amanda Benedetto/ Gabriela Reyes
Tel: (212) 447-0027
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